February 18, 2003

By Michael Strickland

Iraq's "Cooperation"

So the world still watches, waits with baited breath, to see what will happen in Iraq. The U.N. Security Council seems impressed by Saddam Hussein's sudden spirit of "cooperation." Only the United States, Great Britain, Spain and Italy (not a Security Council member) favor immediate military action to depose Hussein and disarm Iraq of its reputed weapons of mass destruction.

Since the other 12 members of the U.N. Security Council prefer to kowtow to Iraq, allowing Hussein to stall indefinitely, I thought it might be useful to demonstrate a couple of the ways in which Iraq has been "cooperative."

U-2 Overflights
Much has been made of Iraq's willingness to allow American U-2 spy planes to fly over Iraq. This was one of the U.N.'s key demands of Iraq, only grudgingly granted by Hussein. Now that he has allowed such flights, anti-war Council members like France and Germany point to this as a major sign of cooperation. But what went very underreported in the media is the exact nature of these overflights. As part of its agreement to allow the flights, Iraq demanded to know the exact flight plans, speed, altitude and call signs of the U-2s, as well as receive 48-hour notice of the flights. To me, this doesn't seem "cooperative" at all. How effective can a spy plane be, if you know when it's coming and where it's going to look?

"Cooperating Fully"
"We are ready to cooperate fully, and we are cooperating fully," said Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz over the weekend. But what he added didn't seem to back up such claims. With regard to the Franco-German proposal to beef up the number of inspectors in Iraq and provide them with U.N. peacekeeping troops as a way to avoid war, Aziz categorically dismissed the idea, saying "Iraq is a sovereign state ... We don't need United Nations troops to interfere or to be in our country." Not the spirit of "cooperation" one would expect from a country that wants to keep troops of another kind from invading. Even the pope urged Iraq to cooperate more fully when he met with Aziz in the Vatican that same day.

The U.N. may have bought Iraq a little more time with this façade of "cooperation," allowing weapons inspectors to go through the motions while last-ditch diplomatic efforts stave off the inevitable. But real cooperation will never come from someone like Saddam Hussein. France and Germany may make their protestations, echoed by China and Russia, but there's only one way to disarm Iraq.


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Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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2/17: Failure to Communicate
2/16: Cold City
2/15: Man-Eaters of Tsavo
2/14: Valentine Gems
2/13: Grab Bag
2/12: The End is Near
2/11: And the Winner Is...
2/10: Exploration is Risky Business
2/9: Staphylococcus
2/8: Morning Cup of Kofi
2/7: Game Over
2/6: The Eagle Never Landed
2/5: Pope: Potter No Problem
2/4: Time for Another Rewrite
2/3: A Matter of Opinions
2/2: Suicidal Bravado
2/1: Godspeed, Columbia

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